Cardinals hit the practice floor for first time this weekend

Cardinals hit the practice floor for first time this weekend

WASHINGTON – Basketball season will officially get underway on Saturday, October 15 when the Cardinals hit the floor for their first practice.  Coming off a year in which it won 19 games, qualified for the Landmark Conference Tournament for the first time and advanced to the ECAC championship game, expectations are high around the CUA program.

"We're real excited," Cardinals Head Coach Matt Donohue said.  "There's a definite buzz around the program.  Our girls are looking forward to getting started and have been great in terms of embracing the preseason programs and workouts.  I think we've had a real good boost of leadership and an injection of energy based on last year's results, and I think excited to get going is an understatement."

The Cardinals lost only two players to graduation off last year's team and return their top four scorers, led by junior Jill Woerner.  A 2011 first team All-Landmark Conference selection, Woerner pumped in 16.4 points per game and pulled down 7.3 rebounds en route to also earning All-Region accolades.

Along with Woerner, Jenny McGann (9.8 ppg), Katarina Owunna (9.4 ppg) and Liz Briones (9.1 ppg) also return, giving CUA a strong core of scorers to lean upon.

With only a month to go before the season opener, Donohue knows the Cardinals must be ready to go as soon as they hit the floor this weekend.  "Our goals are basically simple, we want to begin building our philosophy and building our identity."

He continued, "Last year we became a team predicated on transition and full-court defense.  It's really about finding our identity and establishing it, and then building upon that leading up to the beginning of the season."

Following a season that included its most wins since 2005-06, CUA enters this year with high expectations, but Donohue knows it won't be easy to live up to those lofty goals.  "I think we have a team that is capable of competing at the highest level this year. We recognize that with our returning nucleus, along with our newcomers, we have a real shot to compete for a championship, but we realize there's a lot of work along that road."

CUA will tip-off its 2011-12 season on Tuesday, November 15 when the Cardinals play host to Washington College inside the DuFour Center.  Start time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

See what else Donohue had to say about this year's edition of the Cardinals down below.